Norwich financial skills academy is first of autumn crop of new national academies

The opening of a second national skills academy in the financial services sector next month is expected to trigger a flood of regional centre start-ups during the autumn.

The £5m academy in Norwich aims to raise skill levels in the region’s financial sector, and follows the launch of a similar academy in Leeds in June.

It is to be funded by the East of England Development Agency and the Learning and Skills Council.

An autumn academy launch in London is also expected, along with one in Manchester in 2008. An expansion into other regions is also in the pipeline, according to Sylvia Perrins, national director at the Financial Services Skills Council.

She told Personnel Today: “We are targeting centres in the South West and West Midlands this year, and the South West of England at a later stage. They will form part of an already existing training centre, once a provider has been identified.”

Perrins said that each academy would initially take on about 400 students annually, including young people looking for higher education qualifications, and professionals already working within the sector who wanted to develop their skills.

Skills academies already exist in the construction, financial services, manufacturing and food and drink manufacturing industries.

The government is investing £90m in the national skills academy network. Twelve academies, which will provide vocational education and training tailored to specific industry needs, are expected to be operational by 2008.

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